New Year, New Ideas

And yet none of them seem to result in any actual writing. Well, I tell a lie. I have written a little, it’s just never as much as I would like to do. Mostly, I have been considering stories that are in the public domain. I’m not entirely sure as to why I have been considering these stories, apart from the idea of writing with these characters interests me. Yes, it may just be glorified fan-fiction, but on the other hand, if it’s well written is there really anything to complain about there? Fan-fiction is, after all, undertaken due to love of a media product and people put the effort in for no reward other than perhaps others saying that they like the work.

I’ve also found myself considering the works of Shakespeare. Here’s a thing; I really enjoy Shakespeare’s work, even if there’s only a small handful that I actively watch or read again and again. I am well aware that the language, however, can be a major disadvantage when trying to appeal to a modern audience. Which is a pity really because if there is one thing that Shakespeare really understood, it was how to tell a good story. He knew his characters as more than just characters written down on a page, they were people fully realised, and audiences delighted in seeing what would happen to them.

There’s a correlation between these two wonderings of mine, and it’s something I’ve been thinking on for a while. My all time favourite Shakespeare play is Much Ado About Nothing, and what is that but the layout of a modern day rom-com? Could I do a modern version of it? The characters can stand on their own; they’re not so encrusted in their setting that removing them from it would remove all that we love. But would aspects of the story work now, in our modern thinking society? Maybe. Probably. I couldn’t really say for certain – though some web series adaptations of classic literature show that yes, yes these stories do work well in contemporary times.

Would it work for me though? … Guess I’ll just need to find out.

NaNoWriMo 2014

Otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. This is an event that takes places in November, yearly, and can be easily signed up for on their website. I’ve entered the past few years, but due to obligations with other work, I’ve never been able to finish a piece. This year, so far, there is nothing impeding my NaNo month.

There’s always a lot of advice going round for this month, and most of it seems to take the form of: “don’t edit, just write.” There is a lot of good sense in that piece of advice. If the aim is to write a whole novel within the space of a month, there isn’t really a lot of time to be fussing around with the editing of the piece. The idea behind NaNo, as far as I understand it, is to let people get their creativity on without feeling the need to be precise first time around; that’s what the other eleven months are for.

So, what’s my plan for this year’s novel? Mostly working on a story idea I’ve had for a while and have made vague attempts at writing down. Mainly, I plan to attempt to see the whole month through; I’ve never done it before and I’d really like to be able to say I’ve completed it at least once in my years of taking part.

That being said, you might not hear much from me during the NaNo month, but I’ll do my best to pop in and give an update once every so often. To everyone taking part: good luck, and happy writing!

Considering Characters

When I’m writing prose, I always seem to end up with the same thought in my head: how do people come up with their characters? Personally, I find that sometimes they just seem to appear fully formed in my head and that as I write I discover more and more about them. There’s a saying that the story writes itself, the writer just helps it along, and I think that’s very true. I think it would be more correct to say characters write themselves, and just let the writer know what’s happening once in the while.

I know, I know, it sounds a little odd, but it’s something that has been on my mind while I’ve been working on a piece for a charity anthology and my own personal work. I keep re-writing the opening of my own personal work, actually, because I never seem to be all that happy with it. Most of which comes down to the characters.

I worry that they won’t come across as well to others as they’re coming across to me. Am I describing them too much or not enough? Is this quirk of personality okay, or does it seem a bit too much considering everything else about the character? There’s so many questions and thoughts regarding them going on in my mind that it’s little wonder I actually find the time to write anything about them.

But, considering it all, I don’t think I would have it any other way. I like knowing that my characters cause me to think so much. It’s their way of letting me know that I need to work on them more, that I’m making sure they’re coming across as people and not just cardboard cut-outs. I can only hope that others will like them, but I do, and I think right now, that that’s enough.

Because if you can’t like your characters, who can?

Facing the Block

This is something that is happening far more often than I would like, as of late. I’m going through another bout of writer’s block. Many people will ell you the best way to get through the block is to force yourself to write through it; I’m going to have to be contrary here. On those occasions I force myself to write through the block, I often end up hating everything I’ve written, and delete it the next time I look at it. In the end, no progress is made, and I just end up angry at my work, which isn’t fair to it.

It’s not that I stop writing completely. I write, it just happens that it’s never more than a sentence or two at a time during a period of writer’s block. What I do find myself doing is reading a lot more, and watching things for inspiration. Anything to try to light that spark again and get my back to my writing. At this current writing? It hasn’t happened yet, though I’ve been idly playing with the idea of a modernisation of Robin Hood. As in, Robin Hood set in contemporary times, not trying to take the original setting and make it more ‘cool’, for wanting of a better phrase. I mean, the BBC did that and while it was harmless fun… well, the last season wasn’t so much on the side of fun.

And that’s another contributing factor to my writer’s block, I would think. Ideas spinning round my head and refusing to settle into something that I can actually use and work with. That being said though… I think just worked out the next little bit of the current in-progress story. There’s another thing that helps: discussing the block.

Now, just to get over it.